Springfields specializes in the development and implementation of communications programmes, research and training. Our company is built on the conviction that to be successful, development initiatives need to choose dynamic and innovative communication approaches and constantly adapt to the rapid changes in society. This requires an understanding of the current conditions and challenges that individuals, organizations and communities to be better informed to make every day decisions.

Acting on this premise, Springfields helps clients in the public and private sectors develop successful communications projects, tools and resources as either a) stand-alone programme, or b) to supplement an existing programme taking into account the specific needs of their target beneficaries. Information can be easily delivered to women, the disabled and other vulnerable groups in the community and workplace.

Our clients are able to significantly improve their communications with their internal and external stakeholders. We combine traditional and innovative and emerging forms of communication primarily through mobile technology, social media, applications and other tools. What’s more, our dedicated professional team values the importance of ethics and integrity in working together with partners, we take pride in our attention to quality outcomes, follow-up and timeliness in delivering our services.

We believe that communication plays a vital role in ensuring continuous improvement, accountability, governance, risk management and sustainability. The emergence of Information Communications Technology (ICT) tools to disseminate information or to improve components of existing programmes with our partners has demonstrated positive results. ICTs as a force in social and economic growth presents opportunities that positively impact on people’s lives and initiate dialogue between stakeholders. This allows knowledge to be continuously acquired from the accelerated and extensive access to information, allowing improved communication flow irrespective of gender or demographic, and reaching vulnerable groups more effectively.

What is ICT4D?

ICT (information and communications technology – or technologies) is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and mass media, as well as the various services and applications associated with them. ICT deals with all the systems involved in creating, storing, sending or transmitting, receiving and manipulating these kinds of information. Acquiring skills, knowledge and understanding in the use of ICT systems prepares people to use such technologies to accomplish various tasks in their everyday lives as well as in their working lives. ICT technologies such as the Internet enables people to access and share information. Distant learning and online education has become the order of the day thanks to advancements in ICT. The knowledge of ICT provides opportunities for people to work both collaboratively and independently in completing different tasks. Instead of talking about IT (Information Technology) and Communications Technology separately we put them together as ICT which has become a common way to describe these technologies used to enhance learning opportunities and access to educational resources. Springfields focuses on different applications of ICT on various sectors as discussed in the following pages. Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) refers to the use of ICTs in the fields of socioeconomic development, international development and human rights. Aside from its reliance on technology, ICT4D also requires an understanding of community development, poverty, agriculture, healthcare, and basic education. ICTs have also been important tools for developing innovative solutions to development challenges. ICT4D has multiple sub-categories, the main areas are as follows:

ICT for Agriculture

Agriculture is the most vital sector for ICT intervention. With agriculture, people learned and acquired knowledge through sharing information with each other but of course this is not enough as there are also changes and developments in agriculture. Farmers should be able to take hold of updated information like prices, production techniques, services, storage, processing and the like. Evidently, updated information with the change and developments in agriculture can be addressed by the effective use of ICT (the Internet, mobile phone, and other digital technologies). This is achieved by improving efficiencies in the agricultural value chain to address community challenges, since increasing productivity in agriculture is critical to reducing poverty. Greater productivity through knowledge sharing can boost farmers’ income, especially for small- holder farmers and fishers, who have limited resources to leverage in growing and marketing their produce.

ICT for Health

ICTs can aid in collaborative efforts to create a reliable, timely, high quality and affordable health care and health information systems, and to promote continuous medical training, education, and research. The use of ICTs can be used to facilitate access to the world’s medical knowledge, improve common information systems, improve and extend health care and health information systems to remote and underserved areas. This approach can improve dissemination of public health information and facilitated public discourse and dialogue around major public health threats; enabled remote consultation, diagnosis and treatment through telemedicine; facilitated collaboration and cooperation among health workers, including sharing of learning and training approaches. ICTs can also be used to support more effective health research and the dissemination and access to research findings and strengthen the ability to monitor the incidence of public health threats and respond in a more timely and effective manner.

ICT for Education

ICTs greatly facilitate the acquisition and absorption of knowledge; offering developing countries unprecedented opportunities to enhance educational systems, improve policy formulation and execution, and widen the range of opportunities for business and the poor. One of the greatest hardships endured by the poor, and by many others who live in the poorest countries, is their sense of isolation. The new communications technologies promise to reduce that sense of isolation, and open access to knowledge in ways unimaginable not long ago. Education is seen as a vital input to addressing issues of poverty, gender equality and health in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This has led to an expansion of demand for education at all levels. Given limited education budgets, the opposing demand for increased investment in education against widespread scarcity of resources puts intolerable pressure on many countries educational systems. Meeting these opposing demands through the traditional expansion of education systems, such as building schools, hiring teachers and equipping schools with adequate educational resources will be impossible in a conventional system of education. ICTs offer alternate solutions for providing access and equity, and for collaborative practices to optimize costs and effectively use resources. Since the education sector plays a vital role in economic development, education systems in developing countries should align with the fast evolving technology because technological literacy is one of the required skills in our current era.

ICT for Gender Equality

In recent years there has been a major thrust in the effort to get women involved in ICT for personal, gender and financial empowerment. Narrowing the gap between men and women in the workplace increases economic growth. Plus, a more diverse gender pool in the workplace makes for a more robust and healthy community / business environment. Aside from the obvious benefits of ICT implementation by involving women in the workplace, it is a very positive move from a social standpoint to close the gender gap in all aspects of society. ICT provides opportunities for women’s socio-economic empowerment in many areas, including in health and education as previously mentioned. ICT interventions that are directed at economically empowering women capitalize on the potential of these technologies as knowledge and networking tools for women as producers and distributors of goods and services. The tools are used to connect women to new and wider markets, broaden their social networks and provide them with information that opens up important economic opportunities.

ICT For Livelihoods

Agriculture is the most vital sector for ICT intervention. With agriculture, people learned and acquired knowledge through sharing information with each other but of course this is not enough as there are also changes and developments in agriculture. Farmers should be able to take hold of updated information like prices, production techniques, services, storage, processing and the like. Evidently, updated information with the change and developments in agriculture can be addressed by the effective use of ICT (the Internet, mobile phone, and other digital technologies). This is achieved by improving efficiencies in the agricultural value chain to address community challenges, since increasing productivity in agriculture is critical to reducing poverty. Greater productivity through knowledge sharing can boost farmers’ income, especially for small- holder farmers and fishers, who have limited resources to leverage in growing and marketing their produce.

ICT for Finance

There is an increasing recognition of ICT potential in contributing to income generation and poverty reduction. It enables people and enterprises to capture economic opportunities by increasing process efficiency, promoting participation in expanded economic networks and creating opportunities for employment. Online and mobile banking will allow rural poor to have greater access to banking facilities and provide a secure place for cash deposits and remittances. New ICTs make it possible to provide financial services in new, cheaper ways, and to more people. There is a widespread perception that appropriate financial services, including credit, savings, cash transfer and insurance, can help people work their way out of poverty.